International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

Oct. 9, 2009
Yarmouth Port, MA

As the world’s leading animal welfare organization, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) works from its global headquarters in the United States and 16 country offices to improve the welfare of wild and domestic animals by reducing the commercial exploitation of animals, protecting wildlife habitats, and assisting animals in distress. With such a lofty mission, it only made sense that its headquarters reflected a similar charge to protect the environment in which their “clients” live.

“Our international headquarters is a platform for our campaigns around the world. The green design reflects our commitment to protect animals, their habitats and the environment,” says IFAW president Fred O’Regan.

IFAW’s LEED Gold-certified headquarters—designed by Boston-based designLAB architects—encompasses 54,000 square feet of space in three connected buildings. The full-height glass curtain-wall that wraps around the courtyard of the building strengthens the connection with the exterior landscape, increases views, and traps sunlight. The use of frit glass—a glass with a shading pattern silkscreened onto it—and wooden louvers simultaneously protect against solar heat gain in the summer while allowing sunlight to warm the major spaces in the winter. The use of fabric “sails” in the interior provides sound dampening and light reflection benefits.

Other green highlights include:

  • Advanced on-site wastewater treatment, eliminating nitrogen loading
  • 46 percent less water usage than buildings meeting current federal standards
  • Structural steel, foundation insulation, window framing, carpet, rubber flooring and tiles made from recycled materials
  • Certified wood, with 91 percent sourced from managed forests
  • Energy-efficient mechanical systems designed to exceed the latest energy standards—45 percent less energy for heating and air conditioning and 22 percent less energy for lighting
  • Passive solar technology with full-height glass curtain wall that traps heat in the winter and prevents solar gain in the summer

Some of the major sources of recycled content in the building include structural steel, foundation insulation, aluminum framing, carpet, rubber flooring and tile floors.

The LEED-Gold building integrates landscape and built form. Three simple, clean volumes are arranged around a reclaimed brownfield site, establishing a central gathering space reminiscent of a coastal drumlin or rural Cape Cod meadow. The building is designed to facilitate open communication, collaboration and interaction, while promoting IFAW’s global mission: “To provide a better world for animals and people.” The building reflects the organization’s commitment to environmentalism, not only in the sustainable, LEED-certified design, but also in the attitude and approach in carrying out the project to always do the best thing for the natural environment.

The American Institute of Architects and its Committee on the Environment selected IFAW’s headquarters building as one of the 2009 top 10 examples of sustainable architecture and green design.

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